Ottawa

How many MPs do we need?

The New Democrats and Liberals say they’re eager to hear what the provinces have to say about the Harper government’s additions to the House of Commons. Liberal MP Judy Sgro says adding MPs now is not fiscally responsible.

It’s being suggested by some that it would take something like 900 MPs to achieve true representation by population, but astute commenter LaxAtlDwfYow figures we could get very nearly there with 350.

Speaking with reporters after QP today, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae wondered if it would be better to work within a fixed number of MPs.

I think that the one other question that I think Canadians will want the government to answer and to consider is is it really sensible for us to be increasing the overall size of the House of Commons every time we have a new census.  The National Assembly of France doesn’t do it. The British House of Commons doesn’t do it. The American House of Representatives doesn’t do it.  So far as I’m aware, we’re just about the only country in the western world which every time we have a census we automatically then – we decide to solve all our problems by simply increasing the number, overall number. So eventually we’re going to get squeezed out of this building and we’re going to get out into the street. 

So at some point we’re going to have to bite the bullet and recognize that we’re going to have to find a way to balance these critical principles. The critical principle that we want Quebecers to feel that their position in the Federation is being maintained and reflected in accordance with their population and, secondly, that we do also recognize at the same time the fact that we’ve got to have some recognition of the principle of representation by population. And that will require some adjustments between and among provincial representation.